Fort Wayne residents, City Council Members, City staff and owners of Red River Waste Solutions Inc. joined Mayor Tom Henry, to announce improvement plans for residential garbage and recycling collection.
In August, Mayor Henry formed the Mayor’s Working Group on Garbage and Recycling to look at issues and develop positive solutions to improve the collection process.
“As we looked for ways to improve, it was important to include neighborhood leaders. They are there every day and know the frustrations some residents have experienced with missed collections,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m appreciative of the proactive efforts of the working group to determine the best next steps that we believe will lead to better garbage and recycling collection services.”
The Working Group consisted of leaders from nine neighborhoods representing all quadrants of the City, Fort Wayne City Council members Tom Didier and Jason Arp, members of the Solid Waste Department and representatives from Red River Waste Solutions Inc. Group members looked at a variety of issues including missed pick-ups, driver shortages, 311 wait times, improving neighborhood service, and collection route inefficiencies.
Working Group sessions were pointed, with residents asking specific questions about neighborhoods, 311, driver working conditions, and the entire collection process. Some of the neighborhood group leaders even rode with drivers in their trucks and spent time talking to the many Fort Wayne residents employed by Red River.
The Working Group’s number one priority was to significantly decrease the number of misses occurring each week.
The Group’s findings led them to the realization that the current day schedule is inefficient, requiring trucks to crisscross the City multiple times a day and that these route inefficiencies are a significant contributing factor to the number of misses occurring each week. Consolidating into geographic routes would allow for better training of Fort Wayne workers new to the industry during a time when we are seeing a national, state and local driver shortage. Additionally, all supervisors would be located in a geographic area to improve quality control for neighborhoods.
As a solution, group members agreed to streamline the collection process geographically; a move they believe will have the single most significant impact on collection improvement and make things better for residents. Their discoveries are leading to schedule adjustments with a goal of having garbage and recycling collected on the appointed day.
Beginning Monday, November 5, 2018, a new collection schedule will be in place. This new plan means a different day for garbage and recycling collection for about 47 percent of the City.
Within the next two weeks, residents will receive a “It’s a New Day” postcard in their mailbox. The card will have the specific information for their pick-up day along with a recycling map inset to verify their recycling collection. All residents will receive a postcard, even if their day is not changing.
“The changes in the routes make a lot of sense and should greatly enhance productivity and improve the service to our constituents,” said Councilman Jason Arp, District 4. There will no doubt be challenges related to changing collection days, but I’m optimistic that we will adapt quickly and see service improve. Our neighborhood representatives in the working group did a tremendous job. Their dedication is commendable.”
Other items to be implemented as a result of the working group:
– Beginning October 13, the City will add half-day Saturday service in the 311 call center.
– Red River is actively recruiting drivers at job fair events and hired a recruiting firm to assist in the hiring process.
– A new driver training program is in place that will train drivers locally on the actual trucks they will use on the job, which will ensure new hires are properly trained and on the job quicker.
– Residents will receive a “It’s A New Day” postcard in the mail during the next two weeks.
– Residents will also be able to visit the website MyNewTrashDay.com to access information about their schedule that will begin the week of November 5. The page has an interactive search map and other maps showing specific geographic areas.
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